Tunisia’s Ennahda could give up monopoly over sovereign ministries: official

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A Tunisian official, Siham Bady, revealed on Wednesday that the ruling Ennahda Party could give up their monopoly over select ministries.

Bady, who is the minister for women’s affairs in Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali resigned government, was responding to popular calls to sideline the Ennahda party from the so-called ‘sovereign ministries,’ such as the ministry of interior.

Minister Siham Bady (Al Arabiya) Bady confirmed to Al Arabiya that the resigned government will continue performing its duties until a new prime minister is chosen to succeed Jebali, noting that the decision making process is still ongoing.

Tunisia was in political limbo on Wednesday as President Moncef Marzouki suffered setbacks in his bid to replace Jebali, who quit after failing in his plan to form a non-partisan cabinet.

There is confusion over who will step into the role of prime minister.

“For the moment we have no name,” said Rachid Ghannouchi, whose Ennahda party holds the majority in the National Constituent Assembly, after his meeting with Marzouki.

He added that he was in “talks with Jebali,” urging him to continue as the prime minister.

Jebali announced his resignation late on Tuesday, saying he had failed in his efforts for a solution to the political crisis that followed the assassination of Chokri Belaid, an opposition leader.

He stressed that he would not sign on again as prime minister under “any initiative that does not fix a date for new elections. What about the constitution? What about elections?” he queried.

As well as the row over the new government, there is deadlock over the drafting of a constitution, with parliament divided over the nature of Tunisia’s future political system.

The parliament was elected 15 months ago and is already facing problems in terms of coming to an agreement.

With regards to the formation of a new government, there is concern among political actors that negotiations will drag on.

Ghannouchi, after Wednesday’s talks with Marzouki, said “numerous parties have expressed their desire to be part of” a new government.

“I hope that forming of the government will not go beyond this week,” he added.

Adnene Mancer, spokesman for the presidency, said it was hoped that a candidate for the premiership would be known by Thursday.

“The issue is in the hands of the party that has the majority in the National Constituent Assembly. Ennahda has not yet decided on its candidate,” he said.

Tunisia was plunged into crisis when leftist politician Chokri Belaid was shot dead outside his home in Tunis on February 6.

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